Posts tagged as:

Language

STEM and English Learners Continues to be Focus of Feds

by Jennifer Kobrin August 11, 2011
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I’m back from the Dakotas, where I presented last week at a statewide conference for 21st Century Community Learning Center grantees. After a brief game of chicken with a buffalo standing in the road, I was reminded that rural afterschool programs face many of the same challenges as their urban counterparts (except I guess how to move 1,000 pounds of Bison). It’s really about being able to leverage that spark of curiosity all young people possess into authentic, academic learning opportunities. Which brings me to this week’s topic—STEM and English learners!

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The Best Answer is a Question: Using Inquiry to Guide Learning

by Jennifer Kobrin June 8, 2011
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Earlier this week I heard a radio segment on NPR’s All Things Considered about Sam Fuller, a sixteen year-old that is part of a small section of the home-schooling movement called un-schooling. Learning for an un-schooled child is driven entirely by his or her interests and motivations. For example, Sam did not learn to read until he began playing the card game Magic at the age of 10, which required being able to understand text written on the cards.

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TESOL 2011 Convention: Resources and Links on Teaching Vocabulary and Innovative New Media to Engage ELLs

by Jennifer Kobrin March 23, 2011
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At the annual TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) convention in New Orleans last week, the theme was “examining the E in TESOL.” It’s hard to describe the TESOL experience unless you’ve been there—over 8,000 teachers, linguists, principals, researchers, and administrators from Mongolia to Alabama and everywhere in between, all rushing to hundreds of sessions.

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Using Shared Experiences to Spark Creative Writing for Language Learners (and it’s Testing Time in PA!)

by Jennifer Kobrin March 16, 2011
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Rather than elaborate on my opinions about standardized testing (which I’m sure you’ve heard before), I’d like to spend a little time this week reflecting on the kinds of activities that are not directly tied to test prep, but can still create powerful learning experiences for students. Dance clubs, poetry slams, creative writing and journaling, school gardens and farms, community service projects, just to name a few. If done right, all of these can help kids learn academics while building skills like collaboration and teamwork.

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A trip to the Roots Conference in California (and Pedro Noguera)

by Jennifer Kobrin February 19, 2011
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This week I traveled to Visalia, California—an incredibly beautiful place at the foothills of the Sierra mountains in California’s Central Valley—to give a workshop at the first annual Roots Conference. On the second day, Pedro Noguera spoke for almost an hour. Two major themes came up during his talk. One: there are examples of effective schools out there but we are not doing enough to replicate them. Two: the problem is not the kids, or their parents.

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What Does it Mean to Know a Word? Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary to English Learners

by Jennifer Kobrin February 9, 2011
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We know that teaching vocabulary should be part of any effective instructional program for English Learners. To help EL students, we need to know what it means to learn a word, and to use this knowledge when teaching vocabulary.

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2010: A Year of English Learning

by Jennifer Kobrin January 5, 2011
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On Monday, children all over the U.S. returned to school to start the second half of the year. Although teachers (and former teachers like me) know the real year begins in September, I’m going by the calendar to present a look back at the year of English Learners and Learning in 2010.

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Home for the Holidays

by Jennifer Kobrin December 22, 2010

Every family has their own take on holiday celebrations. Some families sing certain songs or eat special foods. Others are a little more wacky. My family likes to make their grown children reenact childhood photos (let’s hope mom doesn’t find those My Little Ponies this year!).

Whatever your holiday tradition, if you have school-aged kids, chances are you will have a few days at home next week. So, before your family resorts to something as weird as mine, try some of these holiday ideas. I’ve separated this language and literacy-themed roundup by age range, but some of the younger kids might enjoy the older kid activities, and vice versa. The list includes both online and off-line activities.

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Reading for Life: Tweens, Teens and Technology

by Rhonda H. Lauer December 16, 2010
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Today’s young people ages 8 to 18 years use entertainment media (computers, television, video games, etc.) an average of 53+ hours per week; that’s 7 hours and 38 minutes every day. Instead of bemoaning such statistics, let’s embrace this reality. Modern technology and digital media afford educators a unique opportunity to engage tweens and teens in more active, participatory learning.

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Tongue Tied: Bilingual Education, in Policy and Practice

by Jennifer Kobrin December 7, 2010
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Last week, hundreds of Chicago’s tiniest English language learners were among the first in the nation to receive state mandated bilingual instruction. According to Education Week, the new Illinois legislation calls for preschools with over 20 speakers of the same language to offer bilingual instruction, and for all lead teachers to be properly credentialed.

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